The benefits of rehiring ‘boomerang’ nurses

Erica Carbajal

In May, some hospitals started reporting a positive trend: Former nurses who left their full-time positions for travel gigs or earlier in the pandemic were interested in returning.

“The boomerang nurses have returned,” Gail Vozzella, DNP, Houston Methodist’s chief nursing executive, told The Wall Street Journal at the start of May. At that time, the hospital had seen about 60 nurses return since the start of the year.

Pay rates for travel nurse assignments have come down significantly from peak periods of demand earlier in the pandemic, often cited as a key factor driving some nurses back to their former employers.

In a Sept. 6 post, Wolters Kluwer outlined several benefits for hospitals rehiring former nurses:

Boomerang nurses gained new experiences and skills they can offer to support their original organization’s growth and improvement.

They’re familiar with the culture and would be able to acclimate back into their jobs quickly.

They’re less costly to reorient.

They may be more engaged than external hires, based on research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that suggests boomerang employees are typically more satisfied and committed to their roles, and receive stronger performance reviews.

“Where employers were once leary about returning staffers, there has been a mindset shift in the post-COVID environment,” the information technology company said in its blog post, citing a survey where 76 percent of HR professionals said they are more open to hiring former employees than they were in the past.